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Puddle Duck Regatta

The Middle River Misfits Yachting Association and Middle River Landing Marina is pleased to announce our first annual "Before it gets too damn cold Puddle Duck and small Sailboat Regatta," Oct 17 in Essex, Md.

The Regatta is open to all sailboats eight feet and under, with a special class for Puddle Duck Racers.  Free camping is available overnight for Captains and their crews at the Marina.  

Boat display and rigging will commence at 10AM with the race at 2PM.  The course will be here on the beautiful upper end of the Middle River, with trophies for overall winner, Puddle Duck Racer class winner, and various other things as we think of them.  Entry into the race is a massive $5.  Anyone is welcome to come and watch under the drinking trees.

Middle River Landing Marina is located at 1901 Old Eastern Ave, Essex, Md, just a bit North of Baltimore Md. For further information, drop a line to

Hope to see you and your boat there.  For more info or registration, go to

Submitted by Don Elwell

Nostalgia all over again

Hi Dan,

I couldn't resist this response to your 1964 nostalgia and photo gassing that runabout. (re: "Footprints in the Sand").

The quote: "There's a visceral attraction to simply "raising hell" in a small runabout." brought to mind my summer of 1964 "raising hell" on a motorcycle. See racing photo below.

Another quote :"That summer of 1964 was such a tipping point." It was for me, my best year in my former 30 year career on bikes. See poster above.

I was 34! So long ago now.

Bob Hicks

Summer Breeze carries on

Hi Chuck,

Well it is now ten years since we built our Summer Breeze boat. We still enjoy sailing and rowing our Little Ship.

It seems that a lot has happened in the past ten years. Suze and Todd married, then moved to Germany for a couple of years. Now we have two grandsons to teach sailing as well.

For a while we did not use Summer Breeze for several years. We were distracted building and flying another light aircraft plus doing some four wheel driving. Last week we spent time camping near a small lake. Some days we spent sailing, rowing and kayaking plus walking on the beach.

Last year we moved out of the city to a more rural area. Now we are closer to several good sized lakes that are great to sail on. We also bought a good boat trailer for Summer Breeze and our kayak. We can tow the boats behind our camper van to the lakes.

Summer Breeze has stood up well to some use. The sail is still the original and has a repair with a few more eyelets fitted. This was due to sailing in a very strong afternoon wind at the Broadwater on the Gold Coast. The hull has a few scratches that a repaint will fix.

Overall this a great little boat for sailing and rowing. Recently I fitted a bungee cord to the rudder and lee board to hold them down. This works really well.

Last week when we sailing we had some interest in Summer Breeze from others on the water. One time I was sailing in circles so I could answer the questions from a guy on a paddle board.

I am still looking for another new  boating project that I can fit on our trailer. Recently I bought and printed the plans for the Ooze Goose. This looks like another good little boat to build that has a cabin for shelter. With our new house we now have a great shed for doing woodwork projects.

All the best
Mal McKenzie


I just finished reading the four edition account of Richard Ilfeld's cheep and kid friendly boat build. Noble I say, noble but leaving me with a lot questions.

1- Are your sea cadets sponsored by the U.S. Navy with paid staff as is the case in Canada?

2-What is their age range?

3-Why big box store lumber ? Aren't there any independent lumber yards or mill work shops where you area? Often independents sell for the same prices, are staffed by professionals and many have the tools ie. gang saws to process your wood into useable size.

4-Why did you limit your lumber to 2x4x8? Longer lengths less joints, wider 2x8, 10s and 12s generally have fewer knots.

5-And why drywall screws? And why fine thread? Yes they're cheep, but also tempered and brittle with that cone shaped head that's made to dimple paper. Fine thread is ment for steel studs and can cam out easer in wood than the less wood splitting course threaded variety . Try particle board screws, course threaded, and self counter sinking.

Dont get me wrong, I love what you've done and are doing, I'm just curious and making suggestions. I certainly have my own bias's when building things ,but as a great man more than once said "I'm a man and I can change if I have to, I guess."


Richard answers:

Naval Cadets oficially sanctioned & supported by US Navy but staff is volunteer.

8 foot "studs" are 30% cheaper than dimension lumber 10, 12 and 16 feet.

Independent lumber yards good for species other than 'whitewood' but not generally competitive on price.

Fasteners chosen for price, minimum splitting, small hole and easy handling. I removed them all.   Could have been left, possible issues over time as they work out of the structure.

Re Skin boats.  Have done some of these  Used dacron skin; it heat shrinks and makes a nice tight boat.
Painted with 100% solids plastic (Stitts).  Very light.  Lasted many years.  No resistance to oysters.. 


For the Sailors and Boat Lovers #8: Shipwreck

I’ve been aboard both of these boats.  Yes it can happen…but sooooo bad when it does.


Thoughts while thinking

Over the years of experience sailing, motor boating and building boats I have learned things that have been greatly facilitated by the internet.  But this is about boats or rather boat design and designers. Each designer of boats over time tends to demonstrate a recognizable style which is the manifestation of the personal values, experience, goals, background training and the waters they love. (I must mention here, money is "not" an incentive)  Style is not a fashion but a way of accomplishing the essential elements in a litany of value judgments that has been internalized deep in the grey matter in that brain producing the vision in the form of a boat plan.

One can determine the value differences and the water differences and the background differences between them. Very easy to see. 

I will not mention names but the geography of the planet can be easily seen in the designs by where they grew up, be it an island surrounded by deep water or a thousand miles inland with lakes and streams or racing or surfing or paddling in that particular H2o. All are good and some great depending on your own prejudices or should I say geography, ha ha. was my study guide . 

John in Bastrop

Percy Blandford Book

Hi Chuck

I'm writing with regards to my late Grandfather Percy Blandford, I'm sure we have had correspondence before, for some reason I am aware you know of Percy Blandford?! 

Anyway, Gramp passed away last year and it was my last promise to him that I would get his autobiography 'A Life Full of Hobbies' published, and I did!! 

I'm now looking for some outlets to promote his wonderful, inspirational life story, and wonder if you would oblige by printing a few words in Duckworks magazine?  

Here is the press release

Best Wishes


"Memoirs from Percy Blandford

The granddaughter of the designer of the popular Lysander vessel has published his final memoirs.

Percy Blandford passed away at the ripe old age of 101 in 2014.  The keen canoeist was a world renowned boat designer and builder, and his PBK's are still being built, paddled and enjoyed by many generations today.  He was a pioneering DIY expert and the author of countless books, and wrote thousands of magazine articles on an extraordinarily wide range of technical subjects.

Diane Naested said: 'Gramp wrote his autobiography when he was 95 but never got round to publishing it as, in his own words, "who would want to read it?"  I promised him I would get it published, and after working on it for over 12 months, his 114th and final book A Life Full of Hobbies has gone to print!'

THE most inspirational life story from a man, who, had a life full of hobbies! 

Only 500 copies will be published: email:

Don't forget!

The Port Aransas plyWooden Boat Festival is almost upon us, and I have a couple of important items to remind you about.

The first is that we hope you bring your boat to the show and if you do, you want to register ahead of time so you will be first in line for the drawings of over $300 in door prizes for people who bring boats.

If you don't have a boat to bring, think about building a boat at the show. We have two slots for families or individuals to build boats during the festival. This would be great for groups such as scouts or businesses that want to do team building too.

Finally, we ask that you tell your friends about the show. Please forward this email to your whole contact list - we want this year's show to be even better than last year and people are what makes for a good show. Check out the Schedule to get an idea of all the good stuff to do and see.

News from Italy

Hi Chuck,
how are you?

Today, instead of sending you a new my own design, I would like to introduce you to the work of a young and skilled italian naval architect, his name is Paolo Bua.

His gallery of plans and existing boats speaks itself, and just few words are needed to describe his activity.
Paolo's plans are aimed to small boatyard as well to homebuilders, all (or almost all) boats are built using plywood "moder way" (cnc, epoxy and so on).
All his boats have a fresh and nice touch retaining a pleasant woody look. He has designed small dinghy as well small ballasted keelboats. Many of his boats, even if not designed following rating rules, have outstanding speed performances and have been able to win many races. All considered I feel confident that Paolo's mastepieces could be be a nice topic to be brought to the attention of duckworks magazine followers

I have, at same time, suggested Paolo to contact you in order to add him to your yacht designers group , as well to take advantage of your impressive hardware catalog
Paolo, who is reading us in copy, if you wish so would be pleased to give you more details about his boats and his future projects

One picture is worth thousand of words ....

All the best to you

Flavio Faloci

a Thorny Subject

Hi Chuck, THORN is proving to be a fun design and I thought your readers may like to see how easy the build was on this clip. It takes three 4 X 8 X 1/4" ply sheets and a bit of solid wood to build this 8' 3" X 4' 2" dinghy. The end result is a very stable, fun boat, not limited to one purpose!

He is a "car topper" that rows, sails and uses an electric motor to go fishing. With the electric motor the center bench can handle a small family, two adults, two small children in protected waters.


Here's a picture that Kelly Trafford took as we sailed on Bark Lake, Ontario, Canada, at a recent meet. THORN and I were a bit tired from staying up too late at the bond fire. I didn't plan this as a feature when I designed the boat, it just occurred to me that I could lie down and with just a glance at my flag, once in awhile, I would stay on course and "cat nap"! Another reason I'm having a lot of fun with this design!

If anyone is interested in plans have them email me at and I'll set them up.


The adventure continues

Well, the adventures continue. After dinner tonight, sitting around talking to my Linda, telling her of the afternoon sail and fishing. Fished most of the sail, trolling, even stopped for a bit, trying my luck there as well. No good. 

Coming into the dock I see a boat dead center on the dock. No room for me, especially with a pole on the side deck. Wanting more control, I break the pole down to shove it in the forward compartment. 

Then it started, bent over, hook in toe; this could get interesting. Gingerly with fingers, cant see now, can't sail now, boat is doing circles in the middle of the harbor, don't let the barb set. Got it out, put pole away, closed forward hatch, get back to tiller, look up to see a fellow on his boat, in its slip, waving, I wave back. No problem.

Linda's laughing now, the guy on the boat waving didn't suspect a thing. So I tell Linda, remember last summer when you picked me up on the other side of Galveston?

Well, then a similar incident coming into a different harbor for the first time. The wind was about 20 constant and not wanting to come it with the amount of sail I had up, I needed to shorten sail. So I turned into the marsh before the entrance, sitting inside my Paradox. I slip and fall backward, now laying on the floor heeling to port, lines across my chest in a tangle.

I get it sorted out, get inside the harbor, with still a bit too much sail. I shorten sail completely, drift to the dock, a fellow says "I watched you coming in, nice job"

I said thank you, thinking: little does he know.

.........michael j beebe


Chuck, you may already have heard of this blog by Dale Simondson. Dale's writing and photography is absolutely stellar - he makes you feel like you are right there with him!

Here's another article you may find of interest:

Pete Leenhouts

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